We have been going to the Language show since 2013. Our whole family have been coming with us for the last three years. Taking our kids to language show proved a real eyeopener this year. Jasmin is now 10 and Emily 8. They have finally realised Language learning is a Superpower.
Here are their thoughts on the day.
Jasmin: I liked language show because I did not know that I know Mandarin so I was surprised. I also liked the Chinese singing and dancing because they had amazing costumes. I liked the language taster session for Icelandic which was quite hard to understand. I liked the food stalls as they provided food from many different countries.
Emily: I enjoyed the Chinese dancers with their magnificent costumes. I liked the Spanish or babies stall because they had the most delicious sweets. I tried a Mandarin learning game for secondary school age and I found it pretty easy. I went to an Icelandic taster class to learn Icelandic. I learned the word velkomin whic means welcome. I asked my dad to buy me some Assimemor cards “Corps et Vetiments” en Francais. I choose this as I already know my colours and numbers in French.
The girls were happy and confident to try other languages this time they said” Arigatō” to the Japanese stall holder and “Gracias” to the Spanish man who gave them some sweets, “xie xie” to the Mandarin lady who gave them a book mark and “danke” to the lady on the Goethe Institute stand who gave them a sweet. As a parent I was overjoyed to witness this. They have often battled us about using languages other than English as home. They saw a stand about some online language learning games, Language Magician and were keen to try them out. The game was a mix of vocabulary and grammar in German. They enjoyed a lot and are keenly waiting for the full version to be released next year. Emily played with the u talk app and decided she wanted to learn Arabic! That’s my girl!
The girls were keen to visit the Speak like a native stand. A lady taught some simple Spanish to them whilst we chatted to the others on the stand. They simply played connect four together in Spanish and my girls picked up some Spanish.
As we passed a translation stand, the girls were chatting about the languages they could translate to and from. They them started to think about careers that languages would open for then. I think at 8 and ten to be thinking about that is so encouraging.
As we passed the Army Careers stand Emily aged 8 asked us “Why do the army need languages?”
We approached them to ask the question, they explained that the army serve all over the world and so need lots of languages, what they are really looking for are people, who are able to learn languages rather than able to speak them now. As a mum I was so proud as this was exactly what we have done with our own kids they are bilingual German and English but as regularly exposed to different languages and encouraged to have a go speaking them.
My youngest Em enjoyed learning Mandarin in a taster class and joined in with the adults. After the class she looked down the list to see which language she could learn next!! I love her attitude to languages.
The highlight of the day for the girls was the bcc mandarin stand. The ladies on the stand started to demonstrate the mandarin learning game they have developed for secondary school age. My ten year old quickly picked it up and was correctly identifying mandarin characters. The ladies who had developed the programme were blown away by how quickly and easily they were learning Mandarin. My Jasmin came away speaking to us of how she was going to study GCSE Mandarin at school. We now need to investigate how we can make this possible for her. We came away with the amazing character cards developed by teaching characters in a pictoral format , as well as a simple description to aid memorisation. We’ll be writing a full review on this soon.
As parents of children learning languages at home it is sometime surprising to see how this is progressing for them. Often it is only in a different setting they use the skills they have and show you how much they actually know. I was most excited to see their current attitude to languages as we have had a few years of them only wanting to use English and not be seen as different.